Category Archives: Awards

On My DVR: HBO Movies

HBO has long been at the forefront of quality TV movies. Among this year’s offerings are three based on real people, two of which are based on Tony-winning plays. Each is primed for Emmy consideration.

All the Way

Following up his Oscar-nominated performance in Trumbo and four Emmy wins for portraying Walter White on Breaking Bad, Bryan Cranston reprises his Tony-winning role of LBJ in this TV adaptation of the 2014 Tony-winning Best Play. I caught this Robert Schenkkan-penned play on Broadway—liked it, but didn’t love it. Schenkkan adapted his own work for HBO, so I’m curious to see how he interpreted this story for a different medium.

Logline (courtesy of IMDb)Lyndon B. Johnson becomes the President of the United States in the chaotic aftermath of JFK’s assassination and spends his first year in office fighting to pass the Civil Rights Act.

Director: Jay Roach
Screenwriter: Robert Schenkkan
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Anthony Mackie, Melissa Leo, Bradley Whitford, Frank Langella
Runtime: 132 min.

Continue reading On My DVR: HBO Movies

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Happy Birthday, Oscars!

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Today is the 87th anniversary of the first Academy Awards ceremony on May 16, 1929. The ceremony took place in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (a stone’s throw from the current site of the Oscars, the Dolby Theatre) and honored films released between August 1927 and August 1928. About 270 people attended the private dinner. Unlike today, winners were announced three months in advance. Here’s a quick snapshot of the ceremony:

Cost of a Guest Ticket: $5 (or $69 by today’s standards)
Number of Statues Awarded: 15
Length of Ceremony: 15 minutes

Outstanding Picture: Wings 
Unique and Artistic Picture: Sunrise 
Directing (Drama Picture): Frank Borzage (7th Heaven)
Directing (Comedy Picture): Lewis Milestone (Two Arabian Nights)
Actor: Emil Jannings (The Last Command, The Way of All Flesh)
Actress: Janet Gaynor (7th Heaven, Street Angel, Sunrise)
Writing (Adaptation): 7th Heaven 
Writing (Original Story): Underworld 

Other awards were given for Cinematography (Sunrise), Art Direction (The Dove), Engineering Effects (Wings), and Writing (Title Writing) (Joseph Farnham); Special Awards were given to The Circus and The Jazz Singer.

My Final Predictions for 88th Academy Awards

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2016 Best Song Oscar Nominees

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Common and John Legend flashing their statues for their Best Song win at last year’s Oscars for Selma‘s “Glory.”

The last two years, we saw something special—and rare—happen at the Oscars: the Best Song category actually meant something to many viewers. Two years ago, we couldn’t get “Let It Go” from Frozen out of our heads (but let’s be honest, did it ever really leave our heads?). That was the year the Idina Menzel tuner left Pharrell’s toe-tapping contender “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 in the dust. Then last year, we saw John Legend and Common force the Dolby to its feet with their performance of winning song “Glory” from Selma, outpacing another fan favorite, The Lego Movie‘s “Everything Is Awesome.”

This year, high-profile artists like Lady Gaga, Diane Warren, Sam Smith, and The Weeknd are in the mix, but their songs don’t have the same appeal as those from recent memory. Still, this year’s diverse lot of songs—ranging from R&B to classical to a James Bond anthem—is worth a listen before this Sunday’s Oscars.

Continue reading 2016 Best Song Oscar Nominees

Short Film: “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos”

Nominated for this year’s Academy Award for Best Short Film, Animated, “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos” is a beautiful film about friendship and dreams. This is Russian filmmaker Konstantin Bronzit’s second Oscar nomination in this category; his previous nomination came in 2009 for his animated short “Lavatory Lovestory.”

2016 Memo to the Academy

(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)

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Dear Academy,

For the seventh year, we decided to offer you a little help in deciding some of the biggest Oscar races—free of charge. And never has it been as important that we do so than this year, one of the most competitive races in recent memory with no clear frontrunners in many categories. Take it from us, because we’re kinda good at this.

Your friends at Limité,
Dan Quitério & Drew Stelter
Continue reading 2016 Memo to the Academy

Oscar Best Picture Parade of Trailers

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Now that all eight Best Picture Oscar-nominated films have been announced, it’s time to catch up with your screenings before the February 28 ceremony. Here’s a parade of trailers for all Best Picture nominees to get you ready. Check out a complete list of nominees for the 88th Academy Awards here.

Continue reading Oscar Best Picture Parade of Trailers

Eat Your Hart Out: 5 Reasons Kevin Hart Should Host the 2016 Oscars

From Douglas Fairbanks and William C. deMille to Ellen DeGeneres and Neil Patrick Harris, Hollywood’s brightest stars have been taking center stage to honor the year’s best in film for 87 years. Being offered the role of Oscar host is considered a great honor—or burden—a vote of confidence in a person’s ability to entertain one of TV’s largest live audiences, all while keeping the pace of what some consider a painstakingly long ceremony. The role can make or break an entertainer, accepting both praise and blame in equal measure, depending on the ratings success of the televised ceremony. With so much pressure thrust upon the Oscar host, it’s easy to understand why anyone might turn it down. Popularity and a high profile aren’t enough to ensure success (ask James Franco and Anne Hathaway).

So with the Academy announcing next year’s host in the upcoming months, I thought I’d give it a little nudge. Though some stars could easily feel like a slam-dunk (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, Martin Short, or even Dwayne Johnson), it’s someone else entirely whom I’d like to see take the reins. I present five reasons Kevin Hart would make the perfect Oscar host.

Continue reading Eat Your Hart Out: 5 Reasons Kevin Hart Should Host the 2016 Oscars

Watch: Original Short Film Version of “Whiplash,” Starring Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons

(Re-posted from Indiewire.com)

NOTE: The video below was removed from YouTube by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIl-TagNRiE]

by Oktay Ege Kozak

Writer/Director Damien Chazelle must be enjoying his well-deserved recent success after his excellent debut feature Whiplash was nominated for five Academy Awards and took home the gold for Editing, Sound Mixing, and Best Supporting Actor. However, there was a time when Chazelle’s original feature screenplay about the sado-masochistic relationship between an ambitious jazz drummer and his abusive instructor wasn’t necessarily a hot commodity in Hollywood.

Continue reading Watch: Original Short Film Version of “Whiplash,” Starring Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons

My Final Predictions for 87th Academy Awards

Michael Keaton in BIRDMAN (photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight. © 2014. All rights reserved.)

Best Picture — Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole (Birdman)
Director — Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Birdman)
Actor — Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Actress — Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Supporting Actor — J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Supporting Actress — Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Original Screenplay — Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Adapted Screenplay — Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Animated Feature — Dean DeBlois and Bonnie Arnold (How to Train Your Dragon 2)
Foreign Language Film — Ida
Documentary Feature — Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky (Citizenfour)
Cinematography — Emmanuel Lubezki (Birdman)
Production Design — Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Costume Design — Colleen Atwood (Into the Woods)
Makeup and Hairstyling — Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Film Editing — Sandra Adair (Boyhood)
Original Score — Jóhann Jóhannsson (The Theory of Everything)
Original Song — John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn (“Glory,” Selma)
Visual Effects — Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, Scott Fisher (Interstellar)
Sound Editing — Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman (American Sniper)
Sound Mixing — John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, Walt Martin (American Sniper)
Documentary Short — Aneta Kopacz (“Joanna”)
Animated Short Film — Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi (“The Dam Keeper”)
Live Action Short Film — Matt Kirkby and James Lucas (“The Phone Call”)